Tool Use : The Workbench

Many woodworker use some sort of a workbench to do a variety of work.  Be it as simple as an old recycled door, a few boards stacked together any form is good enough I guess to be called a workbench or work surface to accomplish your work.

The topic of workbench has seen many books, articles and has been discussed in many places.  Though my woodworking development, the original book on Workbenches by Chris Schwarz was published at a pretty good timing.  I do own other books on the workbench topic, which help me for ideas on add-on the one I build.  Read-on….

I had bought an already made bench which did OK for a while, but my journey into woodworking showed some limitation, mainly on the weight side of things.  But at the time that I purchased it, it served right.

So as many others, I’ve read the book many times, specially the chapters that does the analysis of the different work holding methods.  After many reads, I decided to build the Roubo version of the bench with Bencrafted tail vise hardware.

The bench has been built for about 4 years now and have no regret yet.

Route Work Bench

Roubo Work Bench

Here are a few accessories that I added to help out the good functions of this bench :

  • Hold fast : I bought these to secure pieces on the top of the bench and offer great holding power.
  • Dogs : I decided to go with round holes in the top of the bench.  The size fit perfectly to accept them to pinch boards with the tail vise or to but the piece agains the dog to plane
  • Lamp clamping block : I added an office Ikea lamp.  I added a smaller block then the thickness of the top to be able to use it.

So far, there has not been much of an occasion that I can think that I had issues with the bench not being able to hold a workpiece.  Again, this is based on the work that I do.  I have to agree that for some work, I would appreciate a workbench that is taller then this one, but that is coming.  The height has been perfect so far for planing but maybe not to getting the dovetail components closer to my eyes.

I did built it.  If you have time to build it, I would say go for it.  It is woodworking, massive woodworking, probably on a scale that many of us will not do many times again as it is pretty massive and heavy.  This being said, I don’t depend on my woodworking for a living.  Being in a different position, it might be worth while to buy it already built and finding the best model that fit your needs.

As a last disclamer, I saw in building this workbench a good occasion to do woodworking and this particular model does not guarantees results as any other model.  Use what works for you and no one model fits all.  I am looking at adding multiple type of workbench to be adapted to the work at hand.